China’s path to progress got a little faster this week, with trials of the new Shanghai-Beijing* bullet train.
The new train, called the CRH-380A achieved a top speed of 486kph, or 302mph for those of you still using the imperial system. The new service is scheduled to come into operation in 2012, and will reduce travelling times down to as low as 4 hours.
That makes it easier to travel by train than by plane. It is about 2.5 hours by plane, but that’s once you are in the plane and ready for take off. As everyone knows, the process of getting onto a plane is getting harder and slower all the time. Add to that China’s notorious airport delays. It is nothing to sit on the plane, at the departure gate, for at least 2 hours. Any time a VIP such as a foreign president or prime minister, is due to fly into Beijing, the air space is closed 2 hours each side of the scheduled arrival/departure.
The development of the high speed train system is good news for aluminium consumption, with large amounts of the metal for the skin and variious other components. And there is huge demand for high speed trains, both from within China and for export orders.
* Like all good Beijingers, I show the flight as Shanghai to Beijing, not the other way around. We Beijingers are convinced we live in the better city, so no doubt all the traffic is in this direction. Inter-city rivalry is alive and well in China.